Update: Franklin was executed this morning.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday morning lifted the stay of execution for white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, CNN reports.
Franklin is on death row four the 1977 murder of Gerald Gordon outside a synagogue in St. Louis. In October 1977, Franklin fired five shots at a group of worshipers leaving a synagogue in Richmond Heights, killing Gerald Gordon and wounding Steven Goldman and William Ash.
This cowardly and calculated shooting was only one of many senseless acts of extreme violence that Franklin, motivated by racial and religious intolerance, committed against numerous victims across the country – from Tennessee and Ohio to Utah and Wisconsin. He is blamed for 22 murders.
Franklin is challenging Missouri’s decision to use the drug pentobarbital as part of lethal injection protocol, arguing it would violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided early Wednesday that Franklin’s lawyers had not provided enough evidence to warrant a stay of execution.
This decision came after a number of a legal maneuvers in the last couple days.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s Office released this statement Monday:
“Earlier today, I received from my counsel a final briefing on the petition for clemency from Joseph P. Franklin, which has been reviewed in detail. After careful deliberation, I have denied this petition.”
Nixon denied clemency arguing Franklin had committed “merciless acts of violence, fueled by hate.”
Franklin also admitted to the attempted assassinations of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in 1978 and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in 1980. Flynt, who was paralyzed by Franklin’s bullet, has called for clemency for Franklin, saying “the government has no business at all being in the business of killing people.”
Actually, reducing the number of killers is most definitely the business of government, way up there, alongside the business of making sure everybody gets as much pornography as they like.
Of course, the coming execution of Joseph Paul Franklin only prolongs the age old debate of why do notorious killers have three names.